From: Patrick Maupin on
On May 14, 2:26 pm, Paul Boddie <p...(a)> wrote:
> On 14 Mai, 20:36, Patrick Maupin <pmau...(a)> wrote:
> > That statement was made in the context of why Carl doesn't use GPL-
> > licensed *libraries*.  He and I have both explained the difference
> > between libraries and programs multiple times, not that you care.
> Saying that GPL-licensed applications are acceptable is a minor
> concession to the use of copyleft licensing if one advocates
> permissive licensing for all things which are not perceived to be
> finished products: things that one isn't looking to re-use somehow.

I am only "advocating" to the extent of explaining why I license stuff
permissively, and why, whenever I incorporate other stuff, it has to
be licensed permissively as well. How you license your stuff is your

> Saying that one likes Octave and that it uses the GPL

I don't recall saying I liked Octave. I have no opinion. I have
never used it. Just threw it out there as an example of how people
rewrite proprietary software to counter your indignation that somebody
would rewrite PyQt.

> damning it with faint praise if one were then to say that its parts
> should be permissively licensed so that one can incorporate its
> functionality into something else.

I'm not operating a chop shop. Never even had cause to look at the
source. I really don't care about it.

> No, I don't care if you have a
> problem with GPL-licensed libraries because it is, as we have
> established repeatedly, your problem not mine.

Sure, the problems that I see with the GPL lead me to choose non-GPL
solutions for libraries. And I never asked you to care. I had a
brief moment of hope that you could see that my concerns were valid,
if personal, but apparently you can only concede that if you attribute
some sort of selfish ill-will to me.

> > I personally can't see any realistic chance of detriment.  How could a
> > proprietary clone hope to compete against free software on one side
> > and real matlab on the other side?  That's a no-win position, so I
> > wouldn't expect to see any proprietary clones.
> Well, only permissively licensed software would encourage such clones.

See, there you go with choice of language again. Remember, we're both
biased with different viewpoints. You say "encourage"; I say
"allow." I further argued that it's immaterial that it's allowed,
nobody sane would do it.

> At that point, there are incentives for people to develop
> functionality for proprietary deployment instead of for the upstream
> project.

What incentives? The incentives that the original matlab team will
keep outcompeting you from the top, or the incentives that the open
source octave team will keep outcompeting you from the bottom?

> [PySide and proprietary software]
> > No, PySide is about non-GPL software, and is released under a license
> > that even RMS recognizes as "free", and it is certainly not of
> > marginal utility.
> No, PySide is about permitting the development of proprietary
> applications by providing a solution to the all-important "ISVs" which
> lets them develop and deploy proprietary software.

That's an interesting viewpoint. Originally, both Qt and PyQt were
available dual-licensed under the GPL or proprietary licenses. For
anybody serious about proprietary development, the proprietary
licensed versions were actually quite reasonably priced. Really the
major advantage I see in PySide licensing is for somebody like Ed or
Carl or me, who simply wants to be able to deliver programs with no
strings attached. That was not possible under the GPL-licensed
version (because of the strings attaching to the customer that Ed has
talked about) or the commercial version (because then Ed couldn't even
give his customer the source to PyQt). PySide is LGPL, which Ed still
might not touch, but at least any "linking" required between that and
code that uses it is really just an import statement, so then again,
he might be OK with that.

Of course, the fact that Qt and PySide are now both free of cost for
non-GPL customers certainly helps Nokia in their push to get people to
take them.

> Do you really think
> a platform vendor whose "ISVs" routinely ship proprietary software on
> their platform and on other platforms, and who will demand the ability
> to continue to do so, now expects all these "ISVs" to provide their
> applications under the modified BSD licence?

Not at all. But they have now *enabled* ISVs to do that. Before,
with QT and PyQt, it was GPL or proprietary.

> Sure, other developers
> can use the software - even people releasing GPL-licensed software -
> but that is highly unlikely to be the primary business motivation.

I think the motivation was to remove all impediments to using it on
the platform, and I see nothing wrong with that motivation. They
already spent a lot on Qt, and they really want to leverage that.

> If
> you think the mobile telephony vendors are a bunch of fluffy bunny
> rabbits playing with each other in sugary meadows of niceness, I don't
> want to be present when someone directly and finally disabuses you of
> this belief.

I don't recall writing anything that would give you that impression,
but whatever.

> It's all about people selling stuff to "consumers" over
> and over again, preferably with the "consumers" rarely if ever being
> able to opt-out and do things their own way.

Nokia is locked in a tight battle with multiple players. Developments
like Nokia using Qt and PyQt (which give small developers a chance to
play easily on that platform) and Google handing out Android to
whoever wants it are going to make the selling over-and-over
increasingly harder to do. (Not that they won't do if if they can. I
just think they are increasingly going to have a hard time playing
that game.)

> > > (And PyQt is not "marginally useful" - it is a widely-used and widely
> > > well-regarded library.)
> > Well, we agree on that.  But I don't know why you're trying to claim I
> > said PyQt was only marginally useful.
> Because you followed on from writing about PyQt by introducing the
> topic of "marginally useful" libraries, thus giving the impression
> that you regarded PyQt as "marginally useful".

Well, it's pretty obvious to anyone paying attention that PySide was
written for the sole purpose of creating something with similar
functionality as PyQt, but under a permissive license, so when I wrote
"nobody's going to waste time rewriting a marginally useful GPLed
library just to put a permissive license on it, either." I *obviously*
was explaining that projects which *aren't* marginal, such as PyQt and
MatLab, are the *only* kinds of projects that would be rewritten for a
simple license change. You really should slow down and read a bit
more carefully.

From: Paul Boddie on
On 14 Mai, 22:12, Patrick Maupin <pmau...(a)> wrote:
> I *obviously*
> was explaining that projects which *aren't* marginal, such as PyQt and
> MatLab, are the *only* kinds of projects that would be rewritten for a
> simple license change.

"As far as your comments about PyQt proving out the concept, well duh!
Just as there are a lot of proprietary programs that are relatively
useless and *won't* have any GPLed versions written, nobody's going to
waste time rewriting a marginally useful GPLed library just to put a
permissive license on it, either."

This being the sudden introduction of this notion of a "marginally
useful" library. And for a long time no-one did rewrite PyQt for the
purpose of having a permissively licensed library, so it's quite
natural to assume that you're saying that until PySide came along, the
reasons for which I have already noted, PyQt was a "marginally useful"
library, not worth rewriting.

> You really should slow down and read a bit more carefully.

You might want to tone down the condescension.

From: Paul Boddie on
On 14 Mai, 21:14, Patrick Maupin <pmau...(a)> wrote:
> If Joe downloads and burns a CD for his friend, he may not have the
> sources and may not have any intention of getting them, and probably
> didn't provide a "written offer."  What you're "ignoring for the
> moment" is my whole point, that unlike Ubuntu, Joe is now in violation
> of the GPL license, because he provided neither a written offer nor
> source on CD, nor his own download site.

Now, wait a moment! Your point is that just by giving the binary CD to
someone, you are now in violation of the licence. What I tried to
explain is that this situation is anticipated - that the FSF
acknowledges that the recipient won't have received the sources at the
same time in all situations - and that the same distributor is
responsible for providing the sources. As long as they don't deny the
recipient access to the sources, by the same means, they are not
violating the licence.

You have a point about recipients not being immediately and obviously
informed of the things they are entitled to, but that is a matter for
the distributing parties to remedy: that is arguably what happens
when, upon loud squealing about matters of "ideology", distributors
decide to de-emphasise the Free Software aspect of their
distributions. Nevertheless, it is my understanding that anyone
attempting to use or install such distributions do get to see a
summary of the licences; only people who pass on the software without
inspecting it (which would involve actually inserting the CD and
booting from it) will be unaware of its contents, and they could only
be held responsible as reasonably as one's Internet service provider
if that party were asked to provide source packages for "that Linux
distro I downloaded last year".

You also have a point about whether people are able to provide sources
at a later date, which might be troublesome if someone gave someone
else a CD with an old version of Ubuntu on it and then were asked to
provide the source packages. Naturally, the FSF have attempted to
address these points in version 3 of the GPL. I would be interested to
hear the opinion of the FSF and distributors on this matter, but I
think it's absurd to accuse the FSF as operating as you allege
Microsoft do, especially as the distributors are the ones who
encourage the sharing of the installation media.

Really, if you think distributions should do a better job at educating
their users and helping them uphold any obligations that may apply to
them, you should talk to them about it. But when I attempt to work
though the issues in a thorough manner in order to thrash out what it
is you really object to - and in practice, the only objections you can
seriously have lie in those two points I mention above (not this
"instant violation" situation, discussed in more detail elsewhere [*])
- and all you can do is suggest that other people are trying to
mislead you, I struggle to feel inclined to indulge you further.

And suggesting that people have behavioural disorders ("Or because
have OCD?") might be a source of amusement to you, or may be a neat
debating trick in certain circles you admire, but rest assured that I
am neither amused nor impressed, nor are others likely to be.


From: Paul Boddie on
On 14 Mai, 21:18, Ed Keith <e_...(a)> wrote:
> The GPL is fine when all parties concern understand what source code is
> and what to do with it. But when you add people like my father to the loop
> if gets very ugly very fast.

Sure, and when I'm not otherwise being accused of pushing one
apparently rather unpopular man's agenda, I am interested in knowing
what the best practices should be and how they can be followed more

Although Bill Gates once apparently claimed that no-one needs the
source code for their word processor or office suite, there are still
benefits in people like your father having access to the sources, even
if this obviously means that he isn't going to recompile it himself:
he can get others to fix things, particularly if his favourite version
is no longer widely supported; if you were from a part of the planet
where you were comfortable with a widely-spoken "global" language but
your father could only converse in a less widely-spoken "minority"
language not generally supported by such software, someone (perhaps
you) could undertake the task of translating that software.

Whether or not one is comfortable with copyleft-style licences, there
clearly is a benefit in providing access to software governed by those
licences. Being able to do so responsibly is obviously a prerequisite
to feeling comfortable about it.

From: Terry Reedy on
The following lines from

seem to cover the case of someone who casually redistributes, for free,
Ubuntu or whatever. Such can refer people back to the Ubuntu site. They
should, perhaps, be familiar with the url, but I would expect that the
binary Ubuntu distribution CDs have the appropriate offer and details on
that disk. Someone who casually distributes, for free, a subset should
also be covered. Under 4.1.2 Option (b): The Offer,

"The option to provide an offer for source rather than direct source
distribution is a special benefit to companies equipped to handle a
fulfillment process. GPLv2 § 3(c) and GPLv3 § 6(c) avoid burdening
noncommercial, occasional redistributors with fulfillment request
obligations by allowing them to pass along the offer for source as they
received it.

Note that commercial redistributors cannot avail themselves of the
option (c) exception, and so while your offer for source must be good to
anyone who receives the offer (under v2) or the object code (under v3),
it cannot extinguish the obligations of anyone who commercially
redistributes your product. The license terms apply to anyone who
distributes GPL’d software, "

Terry Jan Reedy